As the saying goes, knowledge is POWER. The problem is, most research papers remain tucked away behind paywalls. This means that unless your computer is on the network of a university with an expensive subscription, you have to pay a fee – a fee that usually amounts to 30 bucks per paper!

Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers and controls access to millions of papers. Its market capitalisation is similar to Ebay. Unfortunately, the proceeds do not benefit the academics that conducted the research, nor the public at large.

Sci-Hub, amongst others, are trying to change that but Elsevier managed to shut down This to the dislike of researchers, writers and artists, who expressed their support for Sci-Hub open letter. Even the folks at the well-endowed Harvard University started muttering. A former director at the Harvard Universities library was quoted saying to the Guardian:

”We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices,”

Despite the drama, now there are alternatives. Sci-Hub keeps reappearing and Library Genesis also host millions of academic papers. Sci-Hub even calls itself ”the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers”. On their website, Sci-Hub formulates a heroic mission:

At this time the widest possible distribution of research papers, as well as of other scientific or educational sources, is artificially restricted by copyright laws. Such laws effectively slow down the development of science in human society. The Sci-Hub project, running from 5th September 2011, is challenging the status quo. At the moment, Sci-Hub provides access to hundreds of thousands research papers every day, effectively bypassing any paywalls and restrictions.

How to work it? If you don’t have specific paper titles, use the search tool from Science Direct or any other publisher and copy-paste the page title into, for example, the Sci-Hub search bar, and voila there you go, you saved yourself 30 somewhat bucks. Now let’s hope you can use this knowledge in a useful and productive way!


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